Academic journal article Mankind Quarterly

Genetics, Society and Clinical Practice

Academic journal article Mankind Quarterly

Genetics, Society and Clinical Practice

Article excerpt

Genetics, Society and Clinical Practice Peter S. Harper and Angus J. Clarke BIOS Scientific Publishers, Oxford, U.K. 1987

This book provides a concise introduction to the increasing role of genetic testing in modern societies. The authors examine the "ethical" and social issues arising from genetic testing, but in general maintain a rather popular and antiquated approach to the ethical aspects, although it is true that in this they are only reflecting the contemporary pressures of the mass media.

However, in a more positive manner they do approach the problem of adapting to the changes that will be necessary in our current pattern of social and economic organization as a result of the new potential for genetic analysis and manipulation. Particularly they discuss the question of medical insurance. The old days when it could be assumed that every individual had essentially cross-the-board chances of developing illnesses and disease during the course of his or her lifetime are gone. Clearly, insurance, if it is to survive as insurance, must be based upon the genetic potential for future claims arising from genetically-driven factors. Unfortunately prevailing antiquated opinions regard this as "unethical", and as a result it would seem that insurance companies are going to be placed under legal constraints to ensure that the genetically healthy pay for the costs of maintaining the genetically disadvantaged. …

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